ELIZABETH ECKFORD

ELIZABETH ECKFORD

ELIZABETH ECKFORD

* Born October 4th 1941 

* Now Aged 77

* Eckford became a symbol of the struggle against segregation in the US, when this photograph was taken on her first day at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, in 1957. 

* She was part of the Little Rock Nine — a group of nine African-American students picked out to join the previously all-white school thanks to their excellent grades and attendance. But they were prevented from entering the school, by their white peers, until President Eisenhower intervened on their behalf.

On September 4, Eckford and eight other African American students  made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School, which had been segregated. An angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school that day, with the complicity of the National Guard.

* a  fifteen-year-old Eckford tried to enter the school, while soldiers of the National Guard, under orders from Arkansas Governor Faubus, stepped in her way to prevent her from entering. Eventually, she gave up and tried to flee to a bus stop through the mob of segregationists who surrounded and threatened to lynch her.

* Once Eckford got to the bus stop, she couldn't stop crying. A reporter, Benjamin Fine, having in mind his own 15-year-old daughter, sat down next to Eckford. He tried to comfort her and told her, "don't let them see you cry." Soon, she was also protected by a white woman named Grace Lorch who escorted her onto a city bus

On the morning of January 1, 2003, one of Eckford's two sons, Erin Eckford, age 26, was shot and killed by police in Little Rock